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FLAMING SWORD

A sword whose blade is of a spiral or twisted form is called by the heralds a flaming swords from its resemblance to the ascending curvature of a flame of fire. Until very recently, this was the form of the Tiler's sword. Carelessness or ignorance has now in many Lodges substituted for it a common sword of any form. The flaming sword of the Tiler refers to the flaming sword which guarded the entrance to Paradise, as described in Genesis (iii, 4): "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim's and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life;" or, as Raphall has translated it, "the flaming sword which revolveth, to guard the way to the tree of life." In former times, when symbols and ceremonies were more respected than they are now; when collars were worn, and not ribbons in the buttonhole; and when the standing column of the Senior Warden, and the recumbent one of the Junior during labor, to be reversed during refreshment, were deemed necessary for the complete furniture of the Lodge, the cavalry sword was unknown as a Masonic implement, and the Tiler always bore a flaming sword. It were better if we could get back to the old customs.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry


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